Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Love It When A TV Show-Turned-Movie Comes Together

Ain't It Cool News reports that director Joe Carnahan has been attached to the long-in-development movie adaptation of the hit 80's show The A-Team. The property has been in development hell for years now, but with a director firmly in place, it looks as if it may actually get off the ground this time.

Before I get to the meat of this post, let's delve a little further into the idea of an A-Team remake. Every A-Team episode had the same plot. Team rolls into town to find a person or group of people being wronged by bad guys. Team builds some kind of weapon, shown to us in montage form, in order to defeat the bad guys. Lots of violence with no deaths. Growing up, it was one of my family's favorite shows. In fact, I was so afraid of flying when I was little that we joked about giving me drugged milk before take-off, like they used to do to Mr. T on the show. That's in stark contrast to how I cope with my fear of flight now, which is by pissing myself and crying. Anyway, here's how I'm casting the A-Team movie:

Bruce Willis as Hannibal Smith - You figure in this day and age, you need someone old enough to be a convincing leader while being young enough to still fight believably. McClane covers both categories here.

Robert Downey, Jr. as Howling Mad Murdock - If Downey says no, you get Sam Rockwell. If Rockwell says no, you don't make the movie.

Mr. T as BA Baracus - There is no need to recast this part. BA Baracus IS Mr. T. I can't imagine anyone else trying to act like Mr. T, and if you don't have someone in this acting like Mr. T, then it's not the A-Team, is it? The best part is that you wouldn't have to explain why BA is so much older than the rest of the team, because Mr. T doesn't age.

Ben Affleck as Templeton Peck - Hear me out on this. 99% of the population hates on Affleck, but this is the part he was born to play. You think he couldn't pull of the role of smarmy, self-absorbed con-man douche?

For all the hardcore A-Team fans out there, I'd also cast Michael Pena as Frankie, Kevin Spacey as Stockwell, and then I'd check Tommy Lee Jones for a pulse and cast him as Colonel Decker.

The idea of adapting a television show to the big screen is hardly a new one. Over the years movies based on TV shows have ranged in quality from ambitious-yet-flawed all the way down to hilariously awful. If I ran Hollywood, here are some TV shows I would fast-forward for movie treatment, along with the talent I'd attach to each project:

Charles in Charge
Directed by Michael Mann
Starring Johnny Depp, Christian Bale
Depp stars as adult male housekeeper Charles, who along with best friend Buddy Lembeck entertain the Powell family he lives with on a daily basis. For some reason, they both carry guns everywhere and investigate crimes, even though they're both idiots with dead-end jobs.

Perfect Strangers
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring Edward Norton and Daniel Day-Lewis
Norton's turn as the neurotic, high-strung Cousin Larry will get overlooked by the subtle, nuanced performance of Day-Lewis as Eastern European immigrant Balki Bartokomous. The movie starts off with a fourteen minute, dialogue-free sequence in which Balki leaves his war torn homeland of Mypos on a donkey. Mann explores the idea of Balki being a stranger in a strange land, which manifests itself during a climactic scene in which Larry gets his foot stuck in the toilet.

Family Matters
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring Don Cheadle, Halle Berry, and Reginald VelJohnson
Cheadle and Halle, despite their age, play Steve and Laura in this coming-of-age science fiction/romance. Nolan really gets Cheadle to play around with the dual personality of Urkel, with the inner battle between Steve and Stefan taking centerstage. Cheadle's performance is a tour de force, especially during the second half of the film, in which he builds a time machine. By the picture's end, the audience is floored when a tearful and angry VelJohnson utters the final line of "Go home, Steve."

Step By Step
Directed by the Coen Brothers
Starring John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, and John Turturro
Quirky, fast-paced dialogue straight out of the 1930's replaces the surfer lingo of Cody in this odd take on a Brady Bunch rip-off. The first half is solid, with John Goodman shining as Frank and Turturro bringing an eccentric sensibility to the role of teenager J.T. The film begins to slide when Cody, played reliably by Steve Buscemi, shoves little brother Mark into a woodchipper for seemingly no reason.

Full House
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Starring John Travolta, Robert DeNiro, and Michael Madsen
QT starts this adaptation off with a brutal assault of Michelle and her cousins, Nicky and Alex. Seems that Kimmy Gibbler has had enough abuse from the Tanners, so she goes medieval on the small children, kidnapping and maiming them while the song Baby Beluga plays in the background. That's when Danny (Travolta) Uncle Joey (DeNiro) and Jessie (Madsen) decide to get payback. An intricate revenge film, viewers will squirm when they see how Danny tortures Kimmy with a Swiffer Jet; they'll also laugh when they hear Joey and Jessie's thirty five minute conversation about how The Beach Boys got their name.

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